Goodwell, Okla. — Goodwell isn’t considered a destination location for most, but for several professional-caliber athletes, the small Oklahoma town is an integral stop on their way to the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Las Vegas.
“Going to Panhandle to learn to ride from some of the best bronc riders that have ridden has helped me to make the NFR,” first-time NFR qualifier, Allen Boore, said. “I’m really excited to go to the NFR; it’s what I’ve been working towards for years and making the Finals makes all the effort worth it.”
Boore will be joined by four fellow Oklahoma Panhandle State University former students at this year’s big dance December 1-10 inside the Thomas and Mack Center.
After qualifying for his first NFR in 2015, this year has undoubtingly been the best season of Orin Larsen’s career. He claimed championship titles in the bareback riding at San Antonio, Cheyenne, Tucson and Spanish Fork just to name a few. Throughout the course of this season, Larsen accumulated over $138,000 in earnings to head into Vegas in the second-place position. He will battle Tim O’Connell, regular-season leader, for the gold buckle underneath the bright lights.
In true Panhandle fashion, three alumni will climb over the Wrangler bucking chutes to board the sport’s best equine athletes in the saddle bronc riding. Clay Elliott, 2015 College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) Saddle Bronc Riding Champion, earned more than $80,000 throughout the regular season to be situated in the middle of the pack for the NFR. He is followed closely by 2013 OPSU graduate, Boore. Boore represented OPSU multiple times in Casper, Wyo. at the CNFR. He is making his first appearance in Vegas. Sliding into the last qualifying position is Jake Watson. The Canadian cowboy is also an NFR rookie, but is no stranger to big-stage events.
Joe Frost has become a regular at the NFR in the bull riding. He is in second place headed into the 10-day affair with $116,494 accumulated. Although Frost is more than $55,000 behind long-time competitor, Sage Kimzey, the money available each round and in the average makes it possible for him to secure his first world title.
All Panhandle State Rodeo Team fans can watch the action live on CBS Sports Network.
Courtesy of OPSU